PG47 (Campo 47) escapees and the suicide of the NZ Camp CO

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by davidbfpo, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I did briefly think about that option and decided not to. As the suicide was conducted on NZ Army premises when suicide was illegal in the UK I am not convinced the Coroner would have had extra information or witness testimony.
  2. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Some Youtube videos about this event;

    andy007 and davidbfpo like this.
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    From Clayden Shuttleworth's great grandson having found this thread and making contact: 'I was able to tell my family a little more information about him that they were not aware of. Especially information about his time as a POW. Obviously a lot of it was hushed up given the nature of his death. Details surrounding his death at the time were kept from my grandmother to protect her. Several years later, General Freyberg visited her to see how she was getting on in life.'

    Indirect contact is underway with the Shuttleworth family who live elsewhere.

    Now in contact with his grandson. The wonders of the Web and persistence. Plus the help of those "behind the scenes".
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    GeoffMNZ and andy007 like this.
  4. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    "Tunes of Glory" with Sir Alec Guinness and Sir John Mills immediately came to mind when I read of this sad event. A favorite movie of mine.
  5. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I am still waiting for the NZDEF file for another officer who died in England, who had been with Lt. Col. Clayden Shuttleworth, but another angle appeared which may have had an impact.

    The Senior British Officer (SBO) at another POW Camp PG21, near Chieti, was an Indian Army Lt. Col. William Dobie Marshall, of the 1/5th Mahratta Light Infantry. He was captured on 28/6/1942 @ Fuka, part of The First Battle of El Alamein; along with his Brigadier Denys Whitehorn Reid and Marshall was transferred to Italian custody (confirmed from POW Card, held at the British Library). His battalion was not captured.

    The post-war history of the Mahratta Regiment refers very briefly to the officer’s capture @ Fuka, to the Germans. On pg. 302 refers. See: Valour Enshrined: A History of the Maratha Light Infantry: 1768-1947. Bombay: Orient Longman, 1960 (via David Ryan). From: A Brief History of the Mahratta Light Infantry

    Reid was captured, when commanding a brigade, 5th Indian Division's 29th Indian Brigade on 28/6/1942, in the First Battle of El Alamein. See: Denys Whitehorn Reid - Wikipedia

    His actions are well explained in 'An Extraordinary Italian Imprisonment: The Brutal Truth of Campo 21, 1942-1943 by Brian Lett. I have now read the relevant parts of this book. See:

    Lord Robert 'Bob' Blake, later a famous Oxford University historian, was captured @ Tobruk and refers to the SBO:
    Then (pg. 51 & digital pg.52) :
    From: Blake, Bobby | Monte San Martino Trust Archives

    Lett refers to the SBO (on pg.198):
    At midnight 20-21/9/1943 the German Army arrived and took over the camp. The POWs who remained would spend another 18 months in German captivity. Lett refers to the SBO (on pg. 214-215):
    It is possible Clayden Shuttleworth knew of Marshall's behaviour in Italy and that an enquiry was likely. Clearly he would not have known of the result as he died on 15/5/1945. Perhaps he knew via the POW "grapevine" or when in a German POW Camp those from PG21 were there.

    Marshall's Indian Army personal file has no mention of his time as a SBO, nor a POW and after the war ended he returned to India. One note refers to his services no longer being required, as the Indian Army moved towards Independence and on 21/6/1947 he left the Army to return to the UK. He died @ Eastbourne in 1957. From:

    Lett refers to the SBO @ Modena (PG47) on pg. 147:
    This is confirmed by the Official NZ History
    From: I: Events preceding and immediately following the Italian Armistice | NZETC

    Going through my notes and this thread Captain Wood's diary also states the German takeover was on 9/9/1943. See:
    The Diary of Captain R M Wood

    It is easier to conclude that Clayden Shuttleworth was betrayed by the Italian camp commandant; whereas at PG21 the Germans arrived after ten days on 20-21/9/1943, to find most POW were still there, although a small number did escape - some for awhile, others successfully.

    A Kiwi military historian commented:
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  8. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    An interesting possibility, as you say Shuttleworth may have been anticipating an enquiry, wether or not he had heard of Marshall's behaviour. It's easy to imagine him not knowing how the various SBO's actions at the Italian Armistace would be viewed back in the UK.
    davidbfpo likes this.
  9. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Yes and my apologies I missed a few references and a Kiwi quote - all of which have just been added.
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    A very slim update. NZ Defence Force Archives are four months behind due to demand, so the file I requested has yet to be dispatched.
    GeoffMNZ likes this.
  11. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    As if by magic the file arrived on Friday, by airmail too, thanks to NZDEF Archives and I have done the research. A draft update has been composed and sent to Clayden Shuttleworth descendants. I plan to add it here in a couple of days.
  12. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Thats great news.
  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Thanks to a clue by another member I have researched the death in England of a second New Zealand Army officer, Captain Basil Thomas Joseph Jones, b. 16/8/1904; Service Number 23100.

    Why? His grave is right beside Clayden Shuttleworth’s, who had died on 15th May 1945 and Jones died on the 17th May 1945. There are three other New Zealand servicemen who are buried nearby who died in March-April 1945, I have not researched them, as two are Air Force who could have died in combat or after being released from captivity.

    See: Casualty

    The following information is from Jones’ NZDEF Personnel Record; where other sources are used a web link is provided. The Personnel Record is quite slim and there is a major gap – which I will explain later. Some information is shown in brackets and is not shown with a web link.

    By profession pre-war Jones was a journalist (with the North Auckland Times) and an advertising manager; he was married with two sons (Born 1934 & 1939) and lived in Darganville, a small town north of Auckland, North Island. He served as an Army Reservist with the North Auckland Regiment 1924-1930.

    Upon mobilization Jones was in a non-combatant railway engineer formation and was transferred to a reinforcement contingent, and served in the 30th Battalion, after 1/9/1940 till January 1941 as an Acting Captain, accompanying them to Egypt. He was promoted to Captain 27/2/1941 and in early July 1941 joined the 24th Battalion. (Note the writing in the records is sometimes not clear and he may have been with the 24th Infantry Battalion when it was formed).

    Jones was captured in the Battle of Sidi Rezegh and his Personnel Record shows he was posted as missing on 13/12/1941 and was believed to be a Prisoner of War (henceforth PoW) on 17/12/1941. He was in three Italian PoW Camps: from 12/1/1942 PG66, then PG55 after 18/5/1942 and PG47 after 8/12/1942. He was in three German PoW Camps, after 7/10/1943.

    Note Clayden Shuttleworth’s service record shows that on 01/12/1941 he was reported as missing in late November 1941 during the Battle of Sidi Rezegh[1] and was reported safe and well on 11/01/1942 as a PoW. Three days later his move to the Italian POW Camp PG47 was reported.

    Jones was only in PG47 from 8/12/1942 till 9/9/1943 when the Germans moved the PoWs out, following the Italian surrender. Clayden Shuttleworth was the Senior British Officer (SBO) in Camp PG47.

    A New Zealand newspaper (undated) reported that on 27/3/1945 a small group of New Zealand PoW were liberated by the US Army, who had been moved from Oflag 12 Camp @ Hadamar (Wikipedia shows the town is now in the State of Hesse) by truck to Lollar (also in Hesse and Google shows it is 65kms away from Hadamar) into a compound – with fifteen hundred foreign workers. Both Jones and Shuttleworth were in this group.


    On the 4/4/1945 Jones was shown as being ‘safe in United Kingdom’, with notification to his wife five days later. This is the same day as Clayden Shuttleworth was recorded as being in the UK. He joined the Freyberg Wing, Folkestone, which were premises used by the UK Reception Group.

    The Freyberg Wing was part of 2NZEF Prisoner of War Reception Group; or referred to sometimes as the Repatriation Unit. After the Reception process all ex-prisoners were entitled to twenty-eight days Special Leave and had free rail passes to enable travel, not only to London and local towns. The Group had a number of hotels and buildings mainly in Kent and a club in London. There were over six thousand servicemen to repatriate by sea back to New Zealand.

    See the online New Zealand Official History chapter ‘The Reception of Liberated Prisoners in the United Kingdom and Their Repatriation: CHAPTER 11 — The Reception of Liberated Prisoners in the United Kingdom and Their Repatriation | NZETC

    Jones Personnel Record Record has an entry dated 17/5/1945: ‘Result casualty accident placed dangerously ill list. Condition critical head injuries’.

    On the 26th May 1945 a New Zealand newspaper reported that Jones had been involved in a (undated) motor accident In England and had died. See:

    A New Zealand newspaper later reported on the 29th June 1945 – with some details - that Jones had died after an accident @ Clifton, Westmorland, on May 13th 1945. (Wikipedia shows Clifton is a small, linear village 3 miles south-east of Penrith and the A6 trunk road runs through the village, this road was one of the main roads between England and Scotland[2]). The report refers to a Coroner’s Inquest, which returned a finding of death by misadventure. The evidence presented was that Jones was with four others in a small car, the driver being Flight Lieutenant Sidney Spilman, RNZAF and they had been hit by a lorry, the driver of which did not see the car till too late. See:

    A report on the 30th June 1945 the Auckland Star reported the accident and added that all the passengers were badly injured and it was Flight Lieutenant Sidney Spilman who alleged the lorry was being driven at excessive speed.

    See: Auckland Star, Jun 30, 1945, p. 6 | NewspaperArchive®

    On 18/9/1945 Corbett, Mossman and Patterson (Solicitors), of Otorohanga (a town 350kms north of Darganville), sent a letter to the NZ Army requesting a copy of the documents presented at the Coroner’s Inquest[3], namely the dispositions (7 sheets), a locality sketch and a Reception Group Memo. Alas the NZDEF Archives letter in March 2020 stated ‘these papers had not made it into the file’.

    It appears that the solicitors request was related a Probate Hearing at Whangarei High Court in 1945, on behalf of the Executors of Jones’ Will (the court district includes Darganville, Jones’ home town).

    On 11/12/1945 Jones was mentioned in Dispatches for ‘gallant and distinguished service whilst a Prisoner of War’.

    Research into Flight Lieutenant Sidney “Buzz” Spilman found that he had not been a PoW and had flown bombing missions over Germany only in 1945, with RAF No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron[4] , beforehand he been a flying instructor.[5]

    Was the death of Captain Brian Jones in a road collision in Westmorland (North-West England) on the 13th May 1945 and his subsequent passing on the 17th May 1945, a contributory factor in the suicide of Lt. Col. Clayden Shuttleworth on the 15th May 1945?

    It is very likely in my opinion. They had known each other upon mobilisation in 1939, through serving in the 24th Battalion and then for five months in 1941, until they were both captured in December 1941. Their paths then diverged until Jones was moved to the Italian PoW Camp PG47 in December 1942. Both officers were together until their liberation from German custody in March 1945 and then in the Freyberg Wing, Folkestone, awaiting repatriation to New Zealand. They were of a similar age too, both had been married, although Clayden Shuttleworth’s wife died during his captivity; Jones had two sons and Shuttleworth had an adopted daughter.

    News of the accident would have been quickly notified by the civil police to the 2NZEF Prisoner of War Reception Group or the High Commission’s military staff in London and possibly directly to Freyberg House by those injured.

    One of the witnesses at Shuttleworth’s Court of Enquiry[6], who had known him for his last two years as a PoW, referred to a recent official Army letter[7] that there was no likelihood of active service without a long spell of recuperation and he was bitterly disappointed.

    It is possible Clayden Shuttleworth knew of another SBO’s decision to enforce the ‘Stay Put’ order when Italy surrendered and that an enquiry was likely.

    To survive the experiences of being a PoW and then learn a close colleague had died in a road accident must have been a shock.

    [1] Part of the British Operation Crusader 18/11-30/12/1942. See: Operation Crusader - Wikipedia

    [2] See: A6 road (England) - Wikipedia

    [3] I currently do not know whether there is an existing record for the inquest; Cumbria County Archives office at Kendal holds the records for Westmorland but is now closed due to the COV-19 pandemic.

    [4] They flew more sorties than any other Allied heavy bomber squadron, and suffered the second most casualties of all Allied squadrons. See: Newsletter April 2018.pdf

    [5] See a 2012 news story: Kiwi heeds London calling He was alive, but in poor health in November 2017. See: Final salute for Nelson's bomber command veterans

    [6] From the NZDEF Archives copy of Clayden Shuttleworth’s Personnel Record.

    [7] This letter is not in his Personnel Record.
  14. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for this fantastic research.

    I agree Captain Jones' death would have been a severe blow to Shuttleworth, in addition to the other factors including the letter from the War Office. Is it also possible, that though his wife died in June 1941, he had only caught up with this news after repatriation.
    JimHerriot and davidbfpo like this.
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I completed the research a short time ago and emailed the Shuttleworth family contacts, there was no reply - which is understandable given the circumstances and quite possibly the content itself.
    I have not tried to identify Brian Jones' descendants, nor contact others in New Zealand simply as this topic is very old. "Buzz" Spilman for example is very old and no longer fit - from my initial research.

    Travers1940 thank you for the compliment.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Thanks to a pointer from GeoffMNZ I have reviewed the online copy of Clayden Shuttleworth's Will. Within is an important letter on: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843-1998; — Image 328

    CS did not stay at the Folkestone facility and went to London, to stay with a New Zealand couple, the male host was Thomas John MacCormac, a NZ Medical Corps Major, CS stayed until a week before his death. His hosts recorded in a letter to his parents on 22/5/1945 that CS was ‘very thrilled’ to receive a bundle of letters and ‘spoke very proudly of his brother’s DSO’. CS is described as ‘Although a little thin. He showed few signs of his imprisonment and I was very impressed by his bearing and appearance after such a trying experience’.

    Nearly a month later; on the 11/05/1945 CS was at a ceremony @ Buckingham Palace, he received his DSO from the King; in the presence of General Kippenberger[1] and many New Zealanders. His citation was read in full after two citations for two New Zealand VC’s.

    CS’s London host, the Major attended his funeral; he reported it was ‘an impressive and moving service’ and that he was carried to his grave by private soldiers of his Battalion. A bunch of white carnations laid on behalf of his parents were amongst the flowers.

    One day I plan to visit his grave @ Brookwood Cemetery, now I know which flowers to lay.:)

    [1] See: Howard Kippenberger | NZHistory, New Zealand history online He had commanded an infantry battalion, then a brigade of the New Zealand Division in North Africa, then the Division in Italy itself until a severe injury at Cassino, Italy in March 1944. He commanded the New Zealand Reception Group in the UK till October 1945.
    4jonboy and JimHerriot like this.
  17. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I have finally updated my research, hopefully it is complete. There were a few delays and I did get to Brookwood Cemetery to pay my respects in late July 2020. Hence the attachment, the Mb size is due to one colour photo on the front. The family have acknowledged receipt. Thanks to everyone, especially Geoff, for their help.

    Attached Files:

  18. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Error and duplicated below
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    GeoffMNZ likes this.
  19. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    GeoffMNZ likes this.
  20. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member


    My name is Charles Black.

    My grandfather was Captain Sydney S F Goodwin who escaped from Campo 47 on 15 /9 /1943

    When I was younger I did a history project on this and have information that I will share when I can scan and upload the docs.

    I have been very bored during lockdown and doing some research.Fantastic to find this site.

    4jonboy, TTH, ecalpald and 4 others like this.

Share This Page